Ways Oatmeal Helps You Lose Weight, Say Dietitians
Many people claim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what you eat is as important, if not more, than when you eat it.
For those trying to slim down, oatmeal is a great way to start the day, with countless benefits when it comes to weight loss and satiety. Read on to discover why experts say you should make this delicious grain part of your regular meal plan to lose weight. And for more simple tricks for shedding those extra pounds, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Oatmeal can help keep you fuller.
A single cup of oatmeal packs nearly eight grams of dietary fiber—or 29% of your RDA—helping you stay full for longer.
"Fiber helps keep us full because it's difficult for our bodies to digest. That means it sticks around in our GI tracts for longer," says Megan Byrd, RD, of The Oregon Dietitian. "By staying full longer, you end up curbing cravings between meals, and snacking less, too!"
To help boost oatmeal's satiating effect, Byrd recommends combining it with protein-rich add-ons. "By combining it with proteins like nut butter, chia seed, or flaxseed, you can really expect to stay full much longer than if you eat oatmeal alone," she explains. For more healthy eating news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!
Oatmeal can help reduce cravings.
If you want to shake off those between-meal hunger pangs, try starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal.
"Oatmeal is a good source of viscous fiber. The more viscous the fiber, the better appetite is reduced," explains Geri Williams, RD, of Ideal You Health Centers. "It also contains a powerful fiber known as beta-glucan. Beta-glucan can further help to reduce appetite." For more simple ways to boost your satiety, check out these 30 Hacks to Feel Full When You're Trying to Lose Weight.
Oatmeal can replace less healthy sources of carbohydrates.
Looking to make your favorite recipes a whole lot healthier? Oatmeal is an easy addition to everything from sweet foods to meat-based dishes.
"You can use oatmeal to create a homemade breadcrumb replacement, make homemade snack bars, or replace granola in yogurt and smoothies," says Williams, noting that using unsweetened oats in recipes can help dramatically cut the sugar and sodium content in these foods.
Oatmeal can help regulate your digestion.
If a sluggish digestive tract is hindering your weight loss efforts, oatmeal might just be the very thing you need to get things moving again.
"Oats contain soluble and insoluble fiber, and both play an important role in digestion. It's the insoluble fiber that attracts water into the gut to promote the movement of stool through the intestines," explains Leah Johnson, RDN, LDN. "Keeping things moving will prevent hanging on to extra pounds and keep you feeling energized." Want to get your digestive tract moving like clockwork? Try these 15 Best (and Instant) Anti-Bloating Foods.
Oatmeal can help stabilize your blood sugar.
Blood sugar spikes and dips can make anyone feel ravenous, irritable, and fatigued. In fact, according to a 2021 study published in the journal Nature Metabolism, among a group of 1,070 adults studied, individuals with significant blood sugar drops after meals experienced a 9% increase in hunger and consumed 312 more calories over the course of the day than those with less pronounced blood sugar peaks and valleys.
Luckily, experts say that oatmeal might just be the perfect food to help you avoid these major dips and improve your weight loss efforts. "Oatmeal is a complex carb with soluble fiber that is more slowly digested than other refined carbs. This causes a steady increase in your blood sugar rather than a large spike," explains Johnston.
Oatmeal can improve your gut microbiome.
A healthy gut is a happy gut—and potentially a leaner one, too. A 2018 meta-analysis published in Genes (Basel) found that prebiotic fiber, like that found in oatmeal, can help improve both insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism by altering the gut microbiome.
"When digested, fiber helps to cultivate healthy bacteria in the gut. A healthy microbiome may provide improved weight loss. So eating foods rich in fiber like oatmeal could be beneficial for weight management," explains Jeanette Kimszal, RDN, NLC, of Root Nutrition. And for more easy ways to boost your gut health, check out these 20 Foods That Relieve Your Gut Problems, Say Dietitians.